Fantasy Football Advice for Week 4
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland. The Texans head into town surrendering a league-worst 368.7 yards a contest, and Gradkowski has been reasonably effective (417 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) in six quarters of action this season. This also marks the first time in fantasy since the Rich Gannon Era that you won't get ripped on by your league for starting an Oakland quarterback.
RB: Arian Foster, Texans. After his 231-yard, 3-touchdown performance in Week 1, many were prognosticating that Foster's breakout was an aberration and Foster's fantasy hopes should be tempered. Yet in the last two weeks, Foster has racked up 175 yards rushing and 89 yards receiving against formidable foes in Washington and Dallas. With a matchup against the Oakland defense, which is allowing 133 YPG on the ground, Foster is a safe bet to start in Week 4.
WR: Brian Hartline, Dolphins. The second-year wideout from Ohio State has emerged as a solid compliment to Brandon Marshall, as Hartline has 8 catches for 112 yards in his last two games. Week 4 could present to be opportunistic for Hartline and the Dolphin passing game, as New England is ranked 4th worst in passing defense in 2010. Speaking of Miami, kudos to the Dolphin brass for foreseeing the pro potential of Chad Henne, who's developed into a viable starting quarterback. I would have bet that Henne was destined for a Shane Falco-like fall after Michigan's infamous loss to Appalachian State. Instead, Henne has emerged as a top-15 signal-caller in the NFL. Go figure.
TE: Dustin Keller, Jets. As New York quarterback Mark Sanchez starts developing into his own, it's become apparent that "The Manchise" has built a rapport with TE Dustin Keller. Keller, a third-year man out of Purdue, showed promise in the 2009 playoffs, snagging 12 balls for 181 yards and 3 scores. Keller has been able to maintain this success in 2010, hauling in a team-leading 15 receptions for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns.
DEF: Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawk defense has been surprisingly effective thus far in 2010, causing 7 turnovers and getting to the quarterback for 7 sacks. A Week 4 matchup with St. Louis makes Seattle an attractive play, especially when factoring in Stephen Jackson's unknown status.
QB: Carson Palmer, Bengals. Many pigskin pundits expected Palmer to have a rejuvenation in 2010 with the additions of Terrell Owens and rookies Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham. Instead, Palmer has been doing his best Akili Smith impersonation (note to all non-Bengal fans: this is not a compliment). Against a dreadful Panther defense (one which yielded a 102.4 QB rating to Josh Freeman in Week 2), Palmer looked uncomfortable and out of sync with the rest of the offense. The former Heisman winner was picked twice and threw a myriad of passes that were dropped by Carolina defenders. If Palmer continues to be careless with the ball, Cincinnati's playoff aspirations will be nothing more than a pipe dream.
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants. Bradshaw has performed admirably in the Giant backfield, gaining 253 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2010. But with the Monsters of the Midway heading into the Meadowlands, Bradshaw's prospects don't look bright. Chicago has been stout against the run, holding opponents to a league-best 39.7 YPG on the ground. While starting running backs are hard to come by in fantasy, Bradshaw is best suited for the bench if other options are available.
Who's the Moss?Santana should sit in Week 4 vs Philly
WR: Santana Moss, Redskins. Moss has undergone a resurgence with the arrival of Donovan McNabb, amassing 290 yards through the season's first three weeks. Unfortunately, a few obstacles stand in Santana's way in Week 4. 1). Philadelphia has been firm against the pass, permitting just 183.3 yards through the air. 2) This game marks McNabb's return to Philly, and Donovan's track record isn't the best in high-pressured situations. 3) In nine previous matchups with Philly, Moss has hauled in just 2 TD passes.
TE: Heath Miller, Steelers. While Miller served as Roethlisberger's security blanket, he's been fairly quiet in his absence, with 8 catches for 68 yards and zero touchdowns. Week 4's matchup against a ferocious Baltimore LB corps doesn't forebode to alleviate Miller's woes. Miller owners should seek other options until Big Ben's return.
DEF: San Francisco 49ers. The San Francisco defense was projected as the top-ranked unit in fantasy for the 2010 season. Yet the early results have been atrocious, as the '9ers have given up 79 points with just 2 interceptions and 3 sacks. Until they prove otherwise, sit or drop the San Fran squad from your starting spot.
Fantasy Flashback Performance: Jimmy Smith led the NFL in receptions in 1999 with 166 catches, and accumulated over 1,600 yards with 6 touchdowns. Even with those gaudy numbers, no one could have predicted Smith's outburst in Week 2 of the 2000 season. Facing the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Smith collected 15 receptions for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 36-39 Jacksonville loss. Smith was rather pedestrian the rest of 2000, totaling just 922 yards (61.47 YPG).
Waiver Wire Watch: With the insertion of Bruce Gradkowski as the silver-and-black's field general, Louis Murphy has transformed into a fantasy stud. In the past two games with Gradkowski at the helm, Murphy has hauled in 11 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown. Along with TE Zach Miller, Murphy has emerged as a reliable receiver in a pass-happy offense. Although a fantasy owner might be trepid to employ a Raider wideout, Murphy is worth the gamble.
This Week in Kevin Walter: In the words of 20th century poet and lyricist Artis Leon "Coolio" Ivy, "If you got beef fool, eat a pork chop/Once I get it goin' ya know it don't stop." Or maybe the wisdom from southern virtuoso Fred Durst's proclamation of, "Keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin' ($@#% you!)" is more apropos. Whichever rhyme fits your fancy, the message is clear: Kevin Walter is not one to be trifled with. Although the Texans suffered their first defeat of the season, #83 found the end zone again, keeping his 16-touchdown pace alive. With supposed #1 WR Andre Johnson nursing an ankle sprain, look for K-Walt to put up 240 yards and 4 touchdowns in this week's matchup against Oakland.
Walter's 2010 stats: 16 receptions, 207 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count) : 4
Rookie Review: Tony Moeaki is off to a superb start in his NFL career, helping the Chiefs to a 3-0 start with 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. The former Iowa Hawkeye has become one of Matt Cassel's favorite targets, as Moeaki's 12 receptions lead the team. And yes, I realized that two of the past three "Rookie Reviews" have been centered on Kansas City Chiefs. And think, we haven't covered Javier Arenas or Eric Berry yet!
Gatorade Shower Goes To: Charlie Batch, Steelers. Making his first start since 2007, Batch threw for 3 touchdowns and rocked a 106.5 QB rating in leading Pittsburgh to a 38-13 win over Tampa Bay. By the way, if the real world resembled a movie, Batch would guide the Steelers to a gutsy W over Baltimore, followed by the entire team standing behind Batch and refusing to take the field under Roethlisberger's direction. Alas, this is the NFL, where Braylon Edwards' "punishment" for blowing a .16 on a breathalyzer is missing 17 plays. Naturally, Roethlisberger will be back.
Personal Foul On: Albert Haynesworth, Redskins. You're right Albert, signing a nine-figure contract doesn't make you a slave. You, however, are an overweight, overpaid, indolent, unappreciative a-hole whose feelings are hurt because someone had the audacity to ask you to switch positions. In all sincerity, please go away.
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Tweeder: Hey, you wanna see the new Tweeder end zone dance?
Tweeder: You know what it's called?
Tweeder: The new Tweeder end zone dance.
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